Geographic Pocket Atlas of Mars

I´m very happy to present you today a new product which recently could be finished and is now available for everyone. Please have a look to this new post.

Cover of new Geographic Pocket Atlas of Mars

Geographic Pocket Atlas of Mars – Application for Astronomy Clubs is now open “Mars 36” is the title of a new Atlas of Mars, published for Mars Year 36, with a geographic approach. This is the first planetary Atlas that presents a planetary surface with physical geographic thematic layers. The landforms created by lava, wind, water, and ice are shown separately on a topographic base map. The thematic layers are taken from other scientific feature databases, combined in a way as it is familiar in terrestrial atlases. Also included are the first Martian climate charts and climate maps, and another first is the first manually edited Martian albedo map of the 21st century. The explanations are in English, Hungarian and Czech languages.  Its structure and themes follow 20th-century school atlases. At the same time, the atlas also follows in the footsteps of the planetary mapping school in MIIGAiK, Moscow, founded by Kira Shingareva.

The map editor, Henrik Hargitai, the former chair of the Commission on Planetary Cartography, graduated from the Department of Geography at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. He began his planetary mapping career in an internship at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and then in the Cosmic Materials Space Research Group of Szaniszló Bérczi at ELTE, Budapest. Mapping works began in 2016 at NASA’s Ames Research Center where he worked as postdoctoral fellow.

The Atlas will be first presented to the scientific community at the March 2021 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

Astronomy circles and clubs in Central Europe (defined here as Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia) can apply for the Atlas for free of charge as a group, by sending a visual or literary group work entitled “The Perseverance Landing on Mars — and Us”, to, by 25 February 2021. The best applicant groups will receive the atlas for all the group’s members up to 18 years old. Please indicate the number of children in the group (6-18 years old) and the postal address.

Available online:

Henrik Hargitai

planet map editor

New Paper: Knowledge Inventory of Foundational Data Products in Planetary Science

A new paper by authors J. Laura and R. Beyer was just released to help solidify Planetary Spatial Data Infrastructure (PSDI) terms like foundational and framework and provides a thorough knowledge inventory of available planetary data products. see:

As defined by the paper, rigorously accurate foundational products are critical for cartographers when creating derived maps. And by building these these derived maps, for example a elevation-based derived shaded reliefs with contours, cartographers will be creating framework products, thus adding to the overall knowledge inventory.

Is every foundational data product listed in the paper? There are bound to be missing products and soon the paper will become outdated, but it is a great place for researchers and the public to locate existing planetary data. Quote: “We also note that this manuscript, at least at the time of submission and surely by the time of publication, will be out of date. To this end, we are working to turn the data collected and organized within this peer-reviewed manuscript into a living, searchable web-based resource. “

Once this live site is defined by the authors, we will link to it from this page.


Some of the key components of any Planetary Spatial Data Infrastructure (PDSI) are the data products that end-users wish to discover, access, and interrogate. One precursor to the implementation of a PSDI is a knowledge inventory that catalogs what products are available, from which data producers, and at what initially understood data qualities. We present a knowledge inventory of foundational PSDI data products: geodetic coordinate reference frames, elevation or topography, and orthoimages or orthomosaics. Additionally, we catalog the available gravity models that serve as critical data for the assessment of spatial location, spatial accuracy, and ultimately spatial efficacy. We strengthen our previously published definitions of foundational data products to assist in solidifying a common vocabulary that will improve communication about these essential data products.

2017 in Review 3: New Planetary Citizen Maps

Citizen scientist maps should deserve more attention, they are not just another renderings of already-known images but beautifully crafted high quality (and resolution) cartographic products.

The Goddesses of Venus

by Eleanor Lutz (USA)

A continuation of the Medieval map of Mars project, this unusual map takes you to the land of goddesses.


Maps of Mercury

by atlas-v7x (DeviantArt)  (New Zealand)

This series of Mercury maps show Mercury as no one has seen it before. These maps use MESSENGER topographic and color albedo data alone and combined. Nomenclature is dual, blue names are albedo features, white ones are topographic.


Craters of the Moon

by atlas-v7x (DeviantArt)  (New Zealand)

This thematic map shows the topography of the Moon with crater names accompanied with little flags that show the nationality of the person the crater was named after.


The Planet Venus / Venus – Map of Craters

by atlas-v7x (DeviantArt) (New Zealand)

Generic map of Venus, based on old Magellan radar altimeter data, with a fresh, terrestrial look. The Venus crater map looks as if it was taken from a School Atlas. Very Earth-like colors of very alien world with a random distribution of impact craters symbolized with little suns, otherwise to small to show up at this scale.


47 Mars exploration zones for a future human mission

By Mateusz Pitura (Poland)

Did you know that Mars Exploration Zones still have no Wikipedia entry? Until a Wiki editor would discover that we have dozens of candidate human Mars mission targets, here is the map of these sites.


Titan Texture Map 8k

by FarGetaNik (DeviantArt) (Germany)

This map is at least as good as the new Google Earth Titan map and combines infrared equatorial coverage with polar radar swaths.  Dark areas show lakes at the poles and dunes at the equator.


Also this year:

Photomosaic Maps of Pluto

Photomosaic Map of Io

Which one is your favorite planetary Citizen Map in 2017?

Vote for it:

2017 in Review 1: New Planetary Web Mapping Servers

2017 brought a boom in planetary online WMS services. We show you which new service can do what. 

The new Google map

Google worked closely with NASA the next corner in Silicon Valley to prepare the highest, 5m/px resolution global photomosaic of Mars in 2012 that even researchers used for browsing Mars, only available through Google Earth, but not in the web-based map. This year Google added a wealth of new layers, although nothing is published about the image sources or cartographic control. Perhaps at LPSC2018. The service “as is” but still provides the fastest planetary image browsing opportunity for the armchair scientist. Maps include clickable nomenclature. The uniqueness of Google maps is that they are original photomosaics you can’t find elsewhere.

Some of the additions include

  • a beautiful high resolution multiscale color map of Mercury, which shows albedo at low resolution and low-sun relief view when you zoom in, both MESSENGER data
  • a global radar view of Venus at full Magellan resolution
  • a so-so albedo view of the Moon
  • Mars is now a not very seamless but quite high resolution HRSC color mosaic with some gaps
  • Ceres is added but not Vesta
  • Color and multiscale mosaic for Ganymede and Callisto
  • Titan is a nicely rendered seamless infrared+radar view at high resolution
  • Pluto and Charon is also the highest resolution global mosaic in color
  • And mosaics for other outer solar system satellites


ESRI’s Solar System Atlas

The company behind ArcGIS, the most commonly used mapping software in planetary cartography, has published its online atlas from the layers also available for direct import into an ArcGIS project. Unlike for Google, credit is given for all image sources, but in this case mosaicking was not done by ESRI, but all maps were taken from USGS/NASA. This service is basically a tile service to quickly display existing data, including geologic maps.


Planetary Surface Portal / PSUP

This is a service from French university observatories (Paris Sud and Lyon), who made their OMEGA data available through this service. OMEGA (Observatoire pour la Mineralogie, l’Eau, les Glaces et l’Activit) is a hyperspectral imaging spectrometer developed in France, originally for a failed Russian mission, onboard the European Mars Express spacecraft. Mineralogical and albedo data can be viewed, and downloaded from the WMS along with some feature database layers.


Planetary Cesium Viewer

The Cesium technology based viewer from the Paris Sud University in France shows global mosaics for basically all major moons and planets in the Solar System, including the gas giants.  The maps can be viewed as globes or 2D flat maps. The code is open, and available on Github.


Open Planetary Map Mars Basemap v0.1

The OpenPlanetaryMap (OPM) project aims to develop a vector based Mars map that users can modify and personalize. This is a community-based project where planetary scientists can share their cartographic ideas. The map uses CARTO Builder and there are detailed instructions on how you can build your own map within this system. This is the first attempt to create a vector-based Mars basemap, which would bring fresh air into a raster-filled planetary mapping universe.


Moon Trek

The official NASA outreach/research map combo for the Moon, an online platform  for both enthusiasts and researchers. Numerous datasets, mapping and analysis tools are offered. Developed at NASA Ames and JPL in California.


And we did not list those WMS services that started before 2017…

Which one is your favorite? Vote for the best new planetary WMS in 2017:

The Blue and Yellow Moon

Using LRO data, we have created the topographic globe of the Moon as never seen before… in beautiful blue and yellow hues. You can travel on the Moon wherever you want to and discover not only craters, but also various multiring basins, ejecta patterns, winding lava channels, misterious hills, networks of wrinkle ridges, and tectonic scarps.

You can Download the globe kmz from

LROC data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University/DLR